And so it has come to this: the United States government, on orders of the President, has murdered a United States citizen who has never been tried for, much less convicted of, a capital crime.
Anwar al Awlaki, 40, was born in the very city in which I now reside. His father, a Fulbright scholar, earned his master's degree at a university a few miles from the house I live in.
He was slain, my government boasts, by the same elite team that murdered Osama bin Laden rather than bringing him to trial for allegedly plotting, directing and financing the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on this country.
My government says ex patriate Citizen Anwar al Awlaki is a terrorist.
My Constitution says no American citizen can be executed by my government unless convicted of a capital crime in a trial by a jury of his peers, and that anyone accused of a crime must be presumed innocent until proved guilty in a trial.
My government says al Awlaki was involved in planning the attempted bombing of a U.S. - bound aircraft in December of 2009.
My government told me we had to invade Iraq because it had weapons of mass destruction. It had no such weapons.
My government says Citizen al Awlaki sought to use poisons, including cyanide and ricin, to attack "Westerners."
My government sent its Secretary of State to the United Nations to soberly assure the world that trucks photographed by aerial surveillance in Iraq contained lethal chemicals for warfare. They were laundry trucks.
My government says Citizen al Awalaki "inspired" several people now jailed awaiting trial for a variety of capital crimes.
My government says terrorists "hate us because we are free."
My government lies.
My government kills.
My government uses its lies to justify its killing.
Is this what it means to be "free?"